Unleash energy-fueled economic stimulation: FERC must act now!

It is truly an honor to serve hard-working Ohio families as their member of Congress, particularly at a time when we have an incredible opportunity to reignite our nation’s economic engine. 

With smart policies, we are gradually getting various sectors of the economy, such as energy, back on track to create jobs and contribute to our continued economic growth. 

My U.S. Senate colleagues just took critical action to help states such as Ohio realize even more job creation and growth. Last week, they finally confirmed the pending nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to ensure the full quorum necessary for approving a number of infrastructure projects in the energy sector.

For the first time in 40 years, FERC, the agency that oversees America’s energy sector, lacked the quorum (the necessary number of commissioners) needed to approve critical energy infrastructure projects that are shovel-ready. This includes the NEXUS pipeline, a $2 billion Ohio project that, once approved, is expected to create at least 7,000 construction jobs. 

Imagine the impact this would have on Ohio’s economy. Eastern and southeastern Ohio is at the center of America’s Energy Renaissance, and it’s critical that we keep this progress moving.  And, FERC handles more than just pipelines — the commission also reviews liquid natural gas (LNG) proposals, hydroelectric projects, and interstate transmission buildouts. All of these are critical to Ohio’s current and future energy needs.

 Including NEXUS, there are at least 20 different pipeline projects across the country awaiting FERC approval for construction. Altogether, these projects represent nearly $25 billion in capital investment and more than 75,000 jobs. It is also estimated that these projects could contribute another $8 billion to America’s economy.

 In order to move these projects forward — to continue growing our economy and to advance America’s goal to become energy dominant — the Senate confirmed FERC nominees Robert Powelson and Neil Chatterjee before adjourning for their August district work period. As a member of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, Ohio’s Senator, Rob Portman, helped approve Powelson’s and Chatterjee’s nominations by a bipartisan 20-3 vote in early June. Now that the Senate has confirmed two new commissioners, the FERC quorum will be restored and pending pipeline projects such as NEXUS can be approved to move forward. 

 There are few bipartisan successes that Congress has achieved in recent years, which is a shame.  Finally prioritizing a vote to confirm two new commissioners to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was a key milestone for both parties. Now that they can act, I implore FERC to take immediate action – there is no time to waste!

Representative Bill Johnson represents Ohio’s 6th Congressional District and serves as a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Budget Committee.